Stimulating Proenvironmental Behavior at Work With Informal Controls


  • Andson Braga de Aguiar University of Sao Paulo (USP)



informal controls, value statement, personal norms, proenvironmental behavior.


This paper examines whether an informal control in the form of a communicated value statement can activate appropriate employees’ personal norms to promote their proenvironmental behavior. An experimental design is used where the value statement is manipulated in three-levels between-participants (environmental versus financial versus absent). Personal norms are measured, and participants are classified as holding an environmental or a business personal norm. Results show that financial value statements reduce employees’ activation of business personal norms relative to an environmental value statement. Results also show that environmental personal norms increase proenvironmental behavior at work, while business personal norms decrease proenvironmental behavior at work. Finally, results indicate that environmental value statements marginally decrease employees’ proenvironmental behavior through activated business personal norms when compared to a financial value statement. The main results of this study contribute to the literature on the behavioral effects of informal controls by showing the process through which a value statement can influence employees’ proenvironmental behavior. The main practical implication of this paper is that organizations willing to promote employees’ proenvironmental behavior is better off by not communicating an environmental value statement that can lead employees to focus on tradeoffs between short-term costs of environmental initiatives versus long-term benefits of environmental protection.


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